Top Ten

November 6, 2014

MacEwan breaks ground on Centre for Arts and Culture

MacEwan University has broken ground on its new Centre for Arts and Culture, a 430,000-square-foot facility that will house students from MacEwan’s Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications. The building, located in downtown Edmonton, will incorporate state-of-the-art technology into spaces for classrooms, labs, exhibits, and performances. There will also be administrative and retail spaces to provide support to students. “We have over 19,000 full- and part-time students at MacEwan, who impact our city and province in so many ways,” said President David Atkinson. “This might be the ground-breaking for a building, but, in fact, it is a celebration of the very real possibility our students represent.” MacEwan News Release

uCalgary receives “game-changer” $5 M donation for animal care research

The University of Calgary has received a $5 M donation for animal care research that is being called a “game-changer” for the area. The donation, from JC (Jack) Anderson and his daughter Wynne Chisholm from WA Ranches, will establish the Anderson-Chisholm Chair in Animal Care and Welfare at uCalgary, facilitating research into best practices and new technologies for animal handling and care. Ed Pajor from uCalgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will serve as the inaugural Chair. Pajor said the donation will help uCalgary establish itself as an international leader in animal care. “Ranchers realize it’s very important in terms of being able to demonstrate to the public that they’re doing a good job [caring for the animals],” Pajor said. “This donation is just one more example of the commitment on the part of the ranching community to really have an impact on animal care.” uCalgary News | Calgary Herald

French President, QC Premier agree on “principles” of tuition deal

French President François Hollande addressed Quebec’s National Assembly on Tuesday to discuss climate change, economic development, and tuition fees. Currently, French students pay the same fees as students from QC, much less than the fees charged to out-of-province and international students. QC students, meanwhile, enjoy a special status in France, save for at the country’s “grandes écoles.” The QC Liberal Party had said during the last provincial election that it would raise the fees charged to French students attending universities in QC; however, Hollande asked the National Assembly to continue with local fees for French students. QC Premier Philippe Couillard said that QC and France have agreed to the “principles” of a deal that would continue to see lower rates for each other’s students out of “recognition of our friendship.” “We want French students to continue to live here and benefit from special status, but we want Quebec students to be able to study in France and eventually in the ‘grandes écoles,’” Couillard said. Montreal Gazette | Global News

StatsCan releases data on literacy, numeracy levels of Canadian university graduates

A new Statistics Canada survey of adult competencies has found that 49% of Canadians aged 25 to 65 in 2012 fell into the lower range for literary proficiency, and 55% were in the lower range for numeracy proficiency. Among university graduates, 27% were in the lower level for literacy and 32% for numeracy. Among those scoring the lowest in these metrics were graduates of teaching programs, followed by arts and humanities majors. Daniel Munro, who co-authored a recent Conference Board of Canada report on literacy scores, said that as universities become more inclusive, they may be “drawing from a pool of students with lower foundational skills from the kindergarten to grade 12 level.” Nevertheless, the StatsCan findings show better results than a study released last year by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The StatsCan study also found that 27% of female university graduates scored poorly on numeracy, compared with 17% of males, and that the higher the parents’ education, the less likely the graduate was to score poorly. StatsCan Daily | Globe and Mail | Toronto Star

New climbing wall first on-campus structure named for corporate partner at UVic

The University of Victoria has officially named a new climbing wall in its Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) for corporate partner Peninsula Co-Op. The 16-metre climbing wall is said to be the tallest climbing structure at a university in British Columbia. “We are very excited about this new partnership with Peninsula Co-Op. Every contribution to UVic has a common goal of making our community and the world around us a better place and helps to create a promising future for our students and the broader communities we serve,” said UVic’s AVP Student Affairs Jim Dunsdon. The announcement reportedly marks the first time a structure at UVic has been named for a corporation; UVic has long resisted visible corporate presences on campus and remains one of few Canadian PSE institutions without a food chain on campus. Associate Director of Corporate Relations Alison Ducharme said that students, faculty, and other groups were consulted about the new approach to naming rights, and that all current initiatives around naming rights at UVic centre on CARSA, which is due to open in May 2015. UVic News Release | Victoria Times-Colonist

Institutions across the country hold “Long Night Against Procrastination” events tonight

16 institutions across Canada will host “Long Night Against Procrastination” (LNAP) events tonight. While individual institutions have previously hosted LNAP events, this marks the first time multiple institutions have coordinated a Canada-wide event. The events are designed to help students who procrastinate at night find ways to work more efficiently with healthy snacks, regular breaks, and writing support. The events will also help students build strategies to avoid procrastination in the future. “We’ll be sharing strategies and tips on how to plan your workload, how to deal with distraction, lots of different ways to avoid procrastinating. It’s about promoting healthy study habits, getting some work done and having fun, too,” said Lucie Moussu, Director of uAlberta’s Centre for Writers. Students at uAlberta, for instance, will have access to tutors, participate in workshops, get feedback from peers, and take breaks involving yoga and music. The LNAP events are coordinated by the Canadian Writing Centres Association (CWCA). CWCA Blog | uAlberta News 

Bank of Canada Governor criticized for suggesting youth pursue unpaid work

The Governor of the Bank of Canada is facing criticism after suggesting that unemployed young people should take on unpaid internships or volunteer experiences as a way to acquire experience. Stephen Poloz advised young people to “get some real-life experience even though you’re discouraged, even if it’s for free. If your parents are letting you live in the basement, you might as well go out and do something for free to put the experience on your CV.” Clea Seaborn, President of the Canadian Intern Association, described Poloz’s comments as “extremely problematic … Mr Poloz’s comments seem to suggest that all young people are extremely inexperienced and live in their parents’ basement and don’t have anything to contribute to the workforce.” Poloz also told a House of Commons committee that hiring in Canada has not kept up with the improving economy, but that it should catch up over the next 2 years. Toronto Star | CBC News

Business schools offer flexible programming, revise curriculum to combat gender gap

An article in the Globe and Mail outlines the steps some business schools are taking to address a gender gap in enrolments. The article says that business schools have often struggled to recruit women for their MBA programs. The class of 2016 at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, for instance, is made up of just 33% women; at York University’s Schulich School of Business and at the University of Alberta, the percentages are 30% and 31%, respectively. The global average—excluding the US—is 38%. Some studies also show that women with MBA degrees earn less than their male counterparts, and are offered fewer opportunities to quickly advance up the corporate ladder. Some MBA programs are taking steps to combat this disparity. Rotman has revised its teaching model to account for differences in the ways that men and women communicate and is making an effort to incorporate more female business leaders into its curriculum. Other schools are offering flexible programming to accommodate changes in lifestyle and needs. Schulich, for example, allows students to move back and forth between full-time and part-time studies; its part-time programs typically have a higher rate of female participation. Schulich has also seen increased female participation in some of its 1-year specialized programs. uAlberta, meanwhile, offers an accelerated program that reduces the time spent out of the workforce. Globe and Mail

5 PSE institutions among Canada’s top 100 employers

5 PSE institutions appear in the latest annual list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. George Brown College is the only Canadian college to appear on the list, selected in part due to its tuition subsidies for staff and its parental leave program; this is George Brown’s 4th appearance on the annual list. Dalhousie University is also on the list for the 4th time, and is recognized for offering caregiver support for employees and its retired employee organization. Simon Fraser University was included for its efforts to engage students and staff as sustainability ambassadors. The University of Toronto is on the list for the 8th time, due to its efforts to engage retiring employees and its diverse and multigenerational workforce. Appearing for the 2nd time, Western University was chosen for its tuition-support program for employees, as well as its health care spending account and other aspects of its benefits program. The Top 100 Employers are chosen based on 8 criteria: Physical Workplace; Work Atmosphere & Social; Health, Financial & Family Benefits; Vacation & Time Off; Employee Communications; Performance Management; Training & Skills Development; and Community Involvement. Globe and Mail | Canada’s Top 100 Employers | George Brown News Release | uToronto News | Western News Release | Dal News

Researcher sues after comments on anonymous peer-review site leads to rescinded job offer

PubPeer, an anonymous, post-publication, peer-review website, is facing a legal challenge from a researcher who claims that a comment on the site cost him a job. PubPeer, launched approximately 2 years ago, allows commenters with institutional email addresses to anonymously review published research articles. This crowd-sourced approach to review has led to corrections of articles, including one high-profile piece in Cell. However, prolific cancer researcher Fazlul Sarkar is suing the site for defamation and other offenses after the University of Mississippi rescinded a formal job offer after he had resigned from his previous position and retained the services of a real estate agent. A letter notifying Sarkar that the offer had been rescinded cited anonymous PubPeer comments that suggested that he had falsified his research. Sarkar and his lawyer have issued a subpoena to get the names of the commenters, and are looking into whether he had legally held tenure at uMississippi and lost it based on the PubPeer comments. The case could have important implications for online anonymity, as well as for the growth of post-publication review. Inside Higher Ed